Review: Courtney Act

COURTNEY ACT

I was Team Bianca before the season even started, but Miss Courtney Act was one of the more charming discoveries in the latest season of Drag Race. In her cabaret act Boys Like Me, Act reaffirms the perception that she is a real pro of a performer, a real pleasure to spend some time with, even if she’s not an innovator like Jinkx Monsoon, or a crazed genius like Bianca del Rio.

In Boys Like Me, Act sings songs and tells stories focusing on the sometimes provocative, sometimes absurd dirty laundry list that is his sex life. There’s that angry text from a straight boy’s girlfriend, the twins in Montreal, and the US Marine, and that’s just the beginning. The show is at its best in the spoken sections, as Courtney insightfully observes what happens when straddling the gender divide, when boys like “her.”

There’s no denying that Act is one of the most successfully “fishy” of drag queens – a cute boy to be sure, but truly gorgeous as a woman. That said, my personal taste in drag runs less to this kind of prettiness, and more to the fantastic and ridiculous. Thankfully, Act is more than a pretty face and nice bod: she has an appealing voice which she applies expressively to a wide variety of songs.

Most interestingly, she sings an ambitious version of Joni Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”. She sings the hell out of it, and acts it in such a way that it comments on her life story. Still, I felt like she was going for something in this song that she didn’t quite reach. She needs to work more on sitting calmly in the emotional center of a song, and rely less on her admittedly solid technical chops.

These are quibbles, however. Act definitely delivers a fun and smart cabaret show that I can wholeheartedly recommend.

For tickets, click here.

To learn about Jonathan Warman’s directing work, see jonathanwarman.com.

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